Reflections on team selection

As the teams gather in Kentucky, some final thoughts on the two teams..

  • All of the controversy generated by Nick Faldo’s wild card selections (as we more or less predicted) will be forgotten about if Poulter and Casey play their part in a European victory. Of course, the opposite is equally true. If Europe loses and Ian Poulter struggles then the press will be on Faldo’s back all the way to Christmas.
  • Talk of an English bias on Faldo’s part appears to be unfair. It is possible to make an argument that both Faldo and Poulter have very ‘English’ personalities and that Faldo would find some of Poulter’s strengths more appealing than, say, Olazabal or Monty might. But to suggest that Faldo showed national bias in picking Poulter over Clarke stretches the point too far. Remember that if Luke Donald’s wrist was in good shape, he would almost certainly have taken Poulter’s place. And he’s English too!
  • Many have argued that the absence of Clarke and Monty will mean that the team will lack leadership. This remains to be seen but it’s difficult to imagine that a team with players like Garcia and Harrington will be a rudderless ship. Garcia has been sensational as a Ryder Cup player and there’s no reason to expect that he won’t play a leading role once more.
  • Paul Azinger has played the local card with his selection of JB Holmes. At the press conference where his final team line-up was announced, Azinger pointedly highlighted the fact Holmes was a local boy and that he was a bomber (hits it long off the tee!) before mentioning his name. Anyone who experienced the visceral roar that greeted Darren Clarke’s arrival at the first tee in the K Club in 2006 will understand how local passion can create a magical dynamic.
  • With all the talk about the loss of leadership on the European side, the US team has no fewer than six rookies on board. Monty has advanced the argument this week that Europe’s victory in 2004 came down to the rookies delivering. It’s obvious that a US triumph in 08 will require a significant contribution from these new players.
  • As for which pairing combinations would work the best, well, let’s just say that those scientists at CERN with the 17-mile long accelerator have an easier job than trying to work out the Ryder Cup pairings…

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4 Responses to “Reflections on team selection”

  1. tom says:

    watching some of the previous ryder cups (notably 2004,2006) it is difficult to imagine this team without |Clarke and monty , the case for Clarke has been well documented , monty is just not playing well enough he was fantastice in 2002 with a convincing win at the no.1 singles posistion which helped inspire the team , but a t present he is not playing well enough, also the small press interviews i saw of Azinger and Faldo wer quite tense They obviously are not freinds, which maybe goes all the way back to the 1987 open at murfield Both want to win badly, the crowd will have a big affect as to likely matches Westood/garcia ,Harrington/Howell, Casey/rose karlson/stenson -mickelson/kim, jbholmes/Stricker.furyk/maham , just an opinion.

  2. Conor O'Kane says:

    I reckon Faldo will do a good job this week at Valhalla, the man is a born winner and I think this week we’ll see he’s a born leader too. I was more annoyed than most that he backtracked on his statement that form woud be the key factor in his choices and picking Poulter over Clarke, but if Darren is willing to put it behind him and get behind the team, that’s good enough for me. I’ve liked all that I’ve heard from the European camp this week and I reckon we’ll do a job on them again…

  3. Fintan says:

    Darren Clarke Replaces Harrington on European Ryder Cup Team.

    The European Team was today in shock after Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo announced that Open and USPGA winner, Padraig Harrington was leaving the team to be replaced by Darren Clarke.

    Citing stress and high cholesterol as his main reasons, Harrington felt obliged to pull out of the event. In a statement to the press he said “I found myself in a position where I had to choose between my family, my career and my future”. The popular Irish man apologised to his team members and “wished Team Europe well.”

    Faldo had only minutes left to find a replacement with the event due to start in 48 hours. In a press conference he said “Darren was the obvious choice.” Clarke is believed to be flying stateside at present.

    For more, including footage from the press conference visit:

  4. JAmes says:

    I heard about that story about Paddy, from what I hear it’s even true

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